Turkey and Greece are NATO partners. But they are behaving more and more like enemies. Both states have militarily upgraded their borders. When a German police officer patrolled the Evros border river with Greek security forces at the end of April, a Turkish soldier fired a shot. The SPIEGEL made the incident public.
In an internal report by the European border protection agency Frontex, which coordinates the operation, it was described that the German official took cover after the shot and discovered a Turkish soldier who was pointing his gun towards the border guards. He is also said to have shown the middle finger to the Greek-German patrol.
As the Federal Government said in response to a request from the Greens, “it cannot be determined whether the shooting was targeted at the Frontex officials”. Nevertheless, the federal government “expressed its concern about the incident to the Turkish government”.
The green interior expert Irene Mihalic is not enough. “I would have liked the German government to unequivocally request information from the Turkish government about this incident,” she said. “The Turkish side must be made sufficiently clear that such an incident must not be tolerated and must be sharply rejected.”
Frontex has apparently tightened security measures. Among other things, Frontex officials have been asked to wear bulletproof vests on patrols, officials who are familiar with the process report to SPIEGEL.
Nevertheless, there are said to have been at least four other similar incidents on the border since then. Greek security forces told SPIEGEL. In one case, Turkish soldiers are said to have shot into the air from a boat to intimidate the other side.
Frontex plans to continue the mission in Greece at least until June 6, possibly longer. At the Frontex headquarters in Warsaw, the developments on the Greek-Turkish border are being followed with concern.
At the end of February, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan triggered real panic in Europe when he temporarily opened the border to Greece unilaterally. Back then thousands of migrants tried to get to Europe. Greek security forces kept those seeking protection away with tear gas and water cannons.
SPIEGEL research suggests that Greek soldiers also shot at refugees killing at least one migrant. The Greek government still dismisses the allegations as “Turkish propaganda”. In a letter to the EU Commission, more than a hundred members of the European Parliament have asked for an investigation into the incident.
The European police authority Europol fears that scenes like the one in February and March on the Greek-Turkish border could soon be repeated. “We expect further attempts (by the Turkish government) to guide migrants to the Greek border,” says a Europol report.